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When you think of your sustainable lifestyle, what comes to mind? If you’re thinking reusable water bottles, electric cars, and shopping secondhand — you’re not alone.
But for many people, living the perfect waste-free, sustainable lifestyle feels unattainable. Perhaps you’ve started turning down the thermostat, but you’re a long way off from affording a Tesla. Or you’ve gotten really great at carrying a reusable water bottle, but shoot, you went and forgot your tumbler again on your morning coffee break.
It’s easy to beat yourself up for these sustainability slip-ups, but have you ever thought about how your mindset affects your sustainable lifestyle?
Yes, it may sound a bit woo-woo at first, but before you roll your eyes, know this: This stuff is backed by science. Researchers have studied the patterns of human behavior. And we now know the secrets to bring about massive changes in our habits and lifestyle — just with our minds!
Here at Cloud Paper, our goal is to give you the best knowledge and tools to guide you through making sustainable changes to your life, including the power of mindset.
So today, we’re going to talk about four powerful tools you can use to maintain momentum and hit your sustainable lifestyle goals.
Having a positive attitude is critical to a sustainable lifestyle. There may be days when you break down and eat a cheeseburger on #MeatlessMondays. Or you forget your trusty Hydroflask when it’s 90 degrees out… So you cave to that ice-cold plastic water bottle at the newspaper stand.
When you set goals or resolutions around becoming more sustainable, it can be easy to beat yourself up when you slip. Yet science has shown that positive self-talk and a growth mindset will do wonders for reaching your goals. 1
In fact, according to one study, negative emotions were likely to cause more slip-ups for resolution setters.2
Of course, staying positive is easier said than done. So here are a few strategies to shed your frustrations and keep that glass half full.
It might be hard to believe, but this stuff works. If you tell yourself you’re a forgetful person and often think, “I’ll never remember those reusable grocery bags,” then you probably won’t.
Start telling yourself daily that you’re focused, organized, and crushing your sustainable lifestyle goals… You’ll find it’s a rare day when you leave those bad boys in your car.
Be conscious of where you notice your energy being drained or turning negative.
News stations purposefully focus on fear-inducing stories because when we see a trainwreck, it’s human nature not to look away.
Now I’m not saying to put your head in the sand, but there are plenty of ways to get the news with a positive, or at least humorous, spin. For example, subscription e-newsletters like The Skimm add a sassy slant. And comedy news shows like NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” add a healthy dose of humor. These are light-hearted ways to stay informed without feeling overwhelmed or losing hope. Plus you can always stay tuned to the Cloud Paper blog. 😏
It sounds easy, but if you want to create sustainable lifestyle habits you have to start at the beginning. (Stay with me here.)
Say you want to grow your own food this summer. You might be ready to grab a shovel and a bag of seeds. But if you want to succeed you actually need to back up a few steps.
We often try to start from a point that’s just beyond the starting line. The real first step of starting a garden is looking at your available land or space for patio pots. You also have to determine sun conditions, and plan out where you’ll plant the variety of fruits and vegetables so they can thrive.
Then you need to buy the seeds and check your soil. Finally, you’ll probably want to sprout some seedlings indoors before shifting them to your garden.
You can see that there are many steps before you actually get your hands dirty.
It’s the same with most goals. Say you want to eliminate plastic from your life — a lofty, worthy goal for a sustainable lifestyle. But it won’t happen overnight. The first step is finding where to start.
In this case, you might want to run a trash audit to determine your worst plastic habits and start there.
Have you ever had a task sit on your to-do list week after week and never seem to get it done?
Maybe you’ve wanted to get a programmable thermostat so you can save energy. You don’t know much about thermostats, and you’re worried about the investment, so you keep putting it off.
It’s easy to think you just lack motivation, but it’s really just built-up resistance to the task.
Good thing it’s easy to break down resistance! What we need to do is deconstruct the task into even smaller tasks:
Instead of: “Get a programmable thermostat.”
Make the first task: “Google best thermostats,” and jot down a few options.
Sure, you haven’t totally checked it off your to-do list — but the point is that you’ve begun.
And once you begin, it always gets easier. The next step is to set a budget for yourself. Then select a thermostat within your range. And finally, call and order an installation.
You can see how “get a new thermostat” seems like one task, but when you break it down, it’s actually lots of little pieces. And by working on each one separately, you’ll find you do have the motivation. Plus (most of the time), once you start, you’ll build momentum, and before you know it, you’re done!
If you’ve delved into the world of personal development, you may know that you’re more likely to achieve your goal if you see it every day. (42% more likely, in fact!)3
If you want to live a more sustainable lifestyle, you need to keep that goal in mind whenever you’re making choices — whether you’re shopping online, eating in a restaurant, or going on vacation.
But reminders don’t have to take the form of motivational sticky notes on your mirror (though no shame!). Reminders just need to be something you keep around and see on a daily basis. It can be anything, as long as you know that it symbolizes your goal, like:
The beauty of it is that it’s completely up to you to personalize.
We hope this has helped you feel more inspired and confident to crush your sustainable lifestyle goals. You can achieve incredible things with a healthy mindset and a solid step-by-step plan.
Keep in mind that even if you stray from your resolutions, you can always course correct! Did you know Apollo 11 was only on its target route 3% of the time? Yet through constant course correction, they still made it to the moon!4
So if you end up caving to your cheeseburger cravings on a #MeatlessMonday, remember you don’t have to be perfect. You can continue to improve in spite of a few mistakes.
Progress doesn’t have to be a straight line. But if your goal is to have a sustainable lifestyle in 2023, these strategies will get you there.
And remember to make it easier on yourself whenever possible. Join the Cloud Paper subscription service and get eco-friendly home essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, and more delivered right to your door!